Great Moments in accurate yet embarrassing stereotypes

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I may or may not have written about The Baseball Project before. It’s a supergroup of sorts led by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, which only performs songs that are baseball related.  Last night they played in Austin, and this blog post about it in Rolling Stone pretty much hits the nail on the head. On the bald, old, pasty head:

The audience seeing the Baseball Project on 5th Street in Austin midnight Wednesday definitely included a significant quotient of balding older white men up past their bedtimes. Whether this is because they were aging fans of R.E.M. and Dream Syndicate (whose Peter Buck and Steve Wynn form the band’s core), aging fans of baseball (the sport that provides all of the band’s subject matter), or just plain Nuvola regulars (perhaps ones sticking around after seeing three earlier bands from Spain), was not entirely clear. But it was appropriate, given that this is as much a band about past glories as about the national pasttime, per se …

That kind of hurts. Hurts almost as much as my wife coming home from Starbucks yesterday after being given a free iTunes download of the latest R.E.M. song.  She put it down on my desk and said “here’s a free song from that old lame-ass band you like.” I had better not tell her about the existence of The Baseball Project.

Oh well, beats The Football Project. They’re on hiatus right now and who knows when they’ll be back?

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.